Novelty Fabrics

Quilt Blocks – I Started Them!

I sat down last night and while we were watching movies (3 of them!) I cut yards and yards and tons of scraps into strips about 2.5 inches wide. This took hours and I still have tons more to cut up, but as it is I have two shopping bags will with strips now. Today, after breakfast, I sat down to my sewing machine and started sewing the strips into a long ribbon, then sewing the ribbon into larger sheets. From the sheets I cut my quilt blocks- 7.5″ squares that are all angled a little differently. Each block is completely different from the next, in colors, patterns, direction, and angles. Most of what I did today was purples as I had 7 yards of various purple prints I bought specifically for this project. But I also did some other colors, and by the time I get through the scraps I have cut now, there will be several in each color grouping. I told Mattie I am not taking on another sewing project until after I get through the huge pile of fabric strips on my swing table. There’s actually 2 plastic shopping bags worth right now that I hope to get through this week.


I love the purples in the group below. I think the fabrics I chose go together really nicely. I still have another yard of purples to cut.


I was really, really surprised to see how nicely the oranges and browns worked together here. Even the small additions of bits of pale turquoise seems to fit in well enough. I also really like how that pizza fabric in the purple one at left goes in so nicely. That fabric was a skirt that I hated so much I chopped it up to add to this project. It looks much better in there!


One thing I am finding really fun about this is looking at the squares and recounting where the fabrics all came from. Some are scraps left over from my childhood when my Mom sewed my clothes. Some are scraps from commissioned sewing jobs I took on for friends- The scraps from Joann’s purse I made her found its way into several of these blocks. There are fabrics left over from all sorts of random sewing projects here and I love it.

Tomorrow I’ll do the shopping, buy dog food, and then I want to do at least another ten blocks. I had no idea these would prove so time consuming when I started, and I can see why some retired people take this up- its the perfect busy-work to pass the time, it can be done mostly on the cheap, and I’m betting the feeling of pride when you finally finish is fantastic.

McCalls 5184 View A Revisited

I just posted this skirt (McCalls 5184 View A) yesterday without the flounce and it was a micro-mini. That was fine and all but today I woke up and I wanted to try the skirt with with the flounce added, assuming I had enough fabric to do so. I just barely managed to cut the flounce from what was left, though I had to cut it in 4 pieces instead of two on the fold, but to say its a completely different skirt is an understatement!


Just ignore the dopey sunglasses. Its morning here and the sun was blinding me, so I put them on, though now I just look silly.




This skirt should be about 4 inches longer, but I made a really deep hem on it to see how I liked the slightly shorter length. I may go in and trim it up and re-hem it, but maybe not. It doesn’t really matter either way.



The girls are big helpers when it comes to pictures. Sashi was really hoping I’d pick up her flat ball ad throw it but I don’t dare with the camera out there because she’ll probably knock it over.



Anyway, end feeling is I love the skirt. I love the fabric. And I love the style. It was fun in its short life as a micro-mini, but now I can actually sit comfortably, as well as bend over safely.

I will still be making a mini-skirt version of this for the 80’s party, but I will add about 2.5″ to the length of the skirt as it is without the ruffle. That will make it a little more decent, though still very 80’s. I’ll see you next time!

McCalls 5184 View A Modified

m5184Where have I been lately? I have all these plans for sewing but haven’t done much of anything. You know how that is? Anyway, we have an 80’s theme party we are going to the first weekend in May, and I’ve been having some struggles with getting my outfit ready. I have my blouse finished, which I will post another day (only I get my skirt that goes with it done) and that was its own mess and struggle.

Anyway today I stitched up a quick skirt using the pattern I am using for the skirt for the party to see how it fit and if I liked it. I used McCalls 5184 View A, but I left the ruffle off of the bottom to make it into a micro mini skirt. I new it would be short without the ruffle but I had no idea it would be this short.

The pattern is super easy to put together (the part of I did anyway) and literally took me an hour from the start of pinning the pattern down to the fabric to finishing the last stitching. The zipper went in almost perfectly, and the only thing I noted wasn’t quite right at the end was my waistband on one side at the zip ended up slightly deeper somehow, resulting in the two side coming together at the zip being a little uneven.

Despite the super short length, I really like this skirt. Its probably too young for me, but its not like everything in my wardrobe is like this. I think I can get away with wearing the occasional article like this.

Anyway, here it is. McCalls 5184 View A minus the ruffle.



These shoes aren’t the best but they were the only black pair I could find, though in cooler weather I could wear this with leggings and boots.



I have no idea what I was bending over for but you can bet I will not be doing any of this in public where people can see me! There is literally 1″ of fabric covering my butt in this thing.



My zipper is slightly visible here. I used a bright yellow one and all of my visible stitching is yellow as well.

Tomorrow I will be stitching up this pattern again just like this one, but in white satin. My friend Tracy suggested that I use white vinyl but I’m not going to have more money free before the date of the party, and WalMart only had icky browns and blacks. I went with the satin because it was affordable and available without driving across town (I’m almost out of gas). It’ll have to be doubled up as its a little too thin for a single layer, but it should work out fine.

Some New Mock-Ups

I lost all self control the other day and I made an order for some new fabrics. Initially I was only buying fabric for my prom dress (Have I mentioned that yet? I can’t remember.) and for Mattie’s dress shirt for prom. But then I saw some other fabulous fabrics and I had to have them. I tried really hard to not buy them, but yeah… You know how it is, right? Anyway, I have two shirts I absolutely adore and would love to have a few other versions of them. One however is a really summery shirt, and Summer is coming to an end, so I decided to skip out of making another version or two of it for now. The other shirt I love though is more suited for other weather, depending of fabrics used. My first version (link in previous sentence) was made with a very light weight shirting material and is perfect for Summer. Its so light I worry about it being ripped to shreds when the dog jumps on me, but amazingly that hasn’t happened. Maybe the fabric is tougher than I think it is. Anyway, I want to make two other versions of this shirt, but do the shorter length of it with longer sleeves (View D) and maybe do one with the sleeves tacked up and one with them down all the way. I found two fun fabrics, both novelty prints, that I think will be great for this. One is a brown color with postage stamps bearing messages of love, and the other is a lime green with colorful buttons all over it. I think they’re both going to be super cute, and very wearable with both jeans and solid colored skirts. I only drew the mock-up with the sleeves tacked up, but I’m sure you can imagine them all the way down.



I also ordered some solid color Kona cotton (I love this stuff!) to make two new ½ circle skirts. I thought I loved the full circle skirt, but after making a ½, I was pretty much over the full circle. I chose fabrics in charcoal grey and in coral (which I’m hoping is as pictured, more orange-y than pink) and I can’t wait for them to get here. Oddly enough I think I might be able to wear these versions of the shirts paired with the skirts I did mock-ups of here. That will be a win!

Now, about prom. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, my friend Joann is having a prom themed birthday party in November, and Mattie and I were invited to in the fun. It took me forever to decide on a dress pattern. I knew from the beginning I was going to be making my own dress, but choosing was hard. The dress I’m making is long, sleek, and has some rather interesting shaping and detailing front and back around the neckline. I’ll have to find a strapless bra, which will be a challenge to find one that fits, but the dress is gorgeous. I only wish I had been able to find the fabric I chose for it in a royal blue- instead all I could find was hunter green, but I think its still going to look fab. I was only able to find one person online who has made this dress, and she ran into a few issues, so hoping I can get this baby finished without any major hang-ups!

Tearing Down McCall’s 5330 View B

italfabric-110x110Years and years ago, I had this fun (yet rather odd) novelty fabric. I was on a food-themed fabric kick, and decided to make a skirt. This is the fabric I used, along with McCall’s 5330 View B for the pattern. Its got bread, pasta, olive oil, cheese, grapes, and a few other things, with text in Italian. The pattern I decided to use was one I regretted afterwards, as my weight at the time gave me more of a belly than was good to have (is any belly good to have?) and the three box pleats at the front of the skirt accentuated the bulge. It just was not a good fit or a good style, and now that I’ve pulled it out of my closet at my mom’s, I’m also seeing what a fantastically bad job I did at sewing it. :sick:

Tonight I continued on my trek through my old sewing, tearing it almost all the way down, ripping out all the seams except for the center back one because it actually looks okay and I don’t think I’ll need to rip it out to make any real modifications. I did have to rip out the zipper though as I’ll have to re-size the waistband dramatically so it had to come off too.

I tried the skirt on before ripping it apart (but did I take photos of it before? Nope.) and its at least 2 full sizes too big, and those pleats in front are really uneven and just badly done. The plan is to take off about an inch from each edge of front and back at the sides, remove excess fabric from the waistband, cut a second waistband piece to sandwich this piece with and cut interfacing to match for added stability. I’m also going to redo the pleats, but not box pleats- just normal pleats- I don’t know what you would call them, so I can at last make them look good and even without a lot of fuss and bother. Either way, I am hoping to add another wearable skirt to my wardrobe before the weekend is over, though I’m not quite sure what I will wear with it. I do have one black tank top I think.



I also did some work on cleaning up and organizing my craft room Wednesday night. I bought (from Closetmate) a 6 foot shelf with the hanger rod below it and installed it all by myself. I’m especially proud of this because I only screwed it up a little, kind of smashing one of the wall mounts with the hammer, and setting another one about 1/3rd of an inch too low so its not really doing much unless I put some serious weight on the shelf. I’m currently waiting on some file boxes to arrive so I can organize my patterns that are for sale and stack them neatly on the shelf, along with all of my beading and sewing books and catalogs.

As of right now, the shelf has all of my books, but none of the catalogs on it, and that huge pile of clothes on the end of my sewing table are temporarily folded and stacked on the other end of the shelf. I’m hoping to find some plastic hangers for cheap at the thrift store this weekend so I can hang up the clothes I have listed for sale, as well as the clothing that are in various stages of repair or being re-made.

I’ve also spent some time in there doing some dusting and general cleaning, as the window doesn’t seal properly and a lot of dust and dirt ends up all over my beading table’s back edge.

Simplicity 4189 View B is Done (Again)

This skirt was in my “fix or repair” pile, and while I did manage to do that, there’s still things I’m not pleased with, namely the cut of the skirt itself. I took three sets of pictures for this skirt in two different shirts, tucked in and out, and all I can figure is I just don’t like it because it makes my hips look big. I’m also not crazy about the asymmetrical handkerchief hemline- its just not appealing, though its one of those things I own several patterns for with this hemline, though most are tops.

One of the sore points of this skirt when I first sewed it was some severe puckering at the top corner of the slit in the front- the fabric was puckered, bubbled, and just made the slit awkward. I was able to fix that part, though hemming the edges was tricky for me.


I’m also not terrible pleased with the fact that I should have swapped the two fabrics so the obvious angling of the panels wouldn’t have been so obvious in the pattern layout, and that I hadn’t cut one of the panels upside down. The brown fabric literally faces every possible direction in this skirt and that bothers me.

The other sore point in this is where the brown (upside down) panels meets the two white panels below it in a point. There was also terrible puckering and bubbling there, and while its still not perfect, it is a lot better than it was. Its actually barely noticeable now.


S4189-fabricThis is a close-up of the two fabrics. I saw these and fell in love with them years ago. I still think the Pink Panther is pretty cool (and I still love Henry Mancini’s theme for it) but not sure I would have chosen to use these fabrics if I had made this skirt today. I’m really trying to get away from so many crazy prints but its hard- I am loving prints like crazy right now!

I also think I might have used a fabric with a softer drape- this quilting cotton is just stiff enough to give this skirt a lot of body and I think that adds to the wide hips problem. Maybe a light knit fabric would have worked better for this instead.

I really don’t think I’ll be making this again though.